Lance Franklin kicked 13 goals in Launceston last season. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last Five Meetings
Round 8, 2012 – Hawthorn Hawks 119 d Fremantle Dockers 63
Round 19, 2011 – Hawthorn Hawks 95 d Fremantle Dockers 44
Round 11, 2011 – Hawthorn Hawks 111 d Fremantle Dockers 89
EF, 2010 – Fremantle Dockers 94 d Hawthorn Hawks 64
Round 21, 2010 – Hawthorn Hawks 155 d Fremantle Dockers 39
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Fremantle has visited the Tasmania to play Hawthorn six times, and on every occasion they’ve left Launceston empty handed. Take in to account the one time they played the Hawks at the MCG and the Dockers haven’t tasted success away from home against Hawthorn since 2001. Noted poor travellers, Freo actually won seven of its 12 games away from Perth last season, a sign the West Australians have toughened up under Ross Lyon.
After a second-half fadeout against Geelong in round one, normal service has resumed with the Hawks destroying flag fancies West Coast and Collingwood in back-to-back games. The ‘Pies were ahead by 22 at one stage in the second term and a point in front at halftime on Sunday before Hawthorn exploded after the long break kicking 15 goals in a dominant display. It was the fourth straight time the Hawks have scored 130-plus against the Magpies last four wins and a total of 45 goals in two games against strong teams has put the rest of the competition on notice.
The look on the faces of Fremantle players after the loss to Essendon said it all. The Dockers held a match-winning lead at half-time in a low-scoring contest, but the run they had in the first half disappeared after the long break as the momentum swung the Bombers’ way. After hip, calf and back surgery over the summer, Matthew Pavlich hasn’t looked fit all season and he was smashed by the ‘Dons gun young backman Jake Carlisle on Friday night. We found out why on Thursday when he was ruled out for six weeks with an Achilles injury.
(Hawks) Luke Hodge – He played just ten games last year due to a posterior cruciate ligament injury, then missed the opening match of the season following off-season knee surgery. But any doubts there were over Luke Hodge’s ability to influence games were well and truly put to bed with his five-star performance in the win over Collingwood. It wasn’t just the 31 touches, but where he found the ball and what he did with it that counted. His two goals were icing on the cake, with the skipper proving to be the catalyst for a Hawthorn comeback which saw his side outscore the ‘Pies by 77 points in the last two-and-a-half quarters.
(Dockers) Nathan Fyfe – Considering there was doubt over Nathan Fyfe lining up at the start of the season, the 21-year-old has certainly shone over the first three rounds. He was best on ground against the Bulldogs then followed that up with 27 disposals and two goals in Fremantle’s nailbiting four-point loss to Essendon. He’s great in a contest, a fantastic overhead mark and has a nose for the sticks.
Everything points towards the Hawks winning this one. It’s a long trip from Perth to Launceston, Freo has never won at the venue, Hawthorn has won the last three clashes between the teams, and the visitors could be emotionally scarred after their deflating loss to Essendon. The Hawks have won 10 of their last 11 at Aurora Stadium, and last season against North Melbourne Lance Franklin kicked a season-high 13 goals there (it must be said he only managed one goal across the other two games there). The Hawks have nudged the 150-mark in their past two starts but it would be a massive surprise to see them get anywhere near that against a Ross Lyon-coached team. Hawks by 34 points
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